oscars The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked  

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List Rules Vote up the greatest performances that WON the Academy Award, either for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor

Over the years, many great actors and actresses have been awarded the title of "Best Actor" for their portrayal of classic characters in film. Some of these Oscar-winning performances were based on real people, while other performances that won Oscars were based on fictional characters. 

Who are some of the best character portrayals that have earned actors Oscars? Forrest Gump from Forrest Gump made our list. Tom Hanks won a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of this multi-talented man. Forrest Gump was based on the 1986 Winston Groom book of the same name. Anthony Hopkins's iconic portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in the film The Silence of the Lambs also made our list. Hopkins took home the Best Actor Oscar in 1991.

Several Best Supporting Actor performances also made the cut. Gregory Peck's performance as Atticus Finch in the film To Kill A Mockingbird, based on the novel by Harper Lee, earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1962. Other supporting actor roles that are featured on this list include Tommy DeVito from Goodfellas, played by Joe Pesci, and Rod Tidwell from Jerry McGuire, played by Cuba Gooding Jr.

Which best actor performance is your favorite? Vote up your favorite Oscar-winning character below! 
list ordered by

1
2,199 474
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Forrest Gump Forrest Gump Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1994).

2
1,824 435
Andrew Beckett is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Andrew Beckett Philadelphia Tom Hanks - Best Actor (1993).

3
1,042 1,611
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
The Joker The Dark Knight Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor (2008).

4
798 1,282
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - Best Actor (1991).

5
769 1,039
Vito Corleone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Vito Corleone The Godfather Marlon Brando - Best Actor (1972).

6
500 233
Atticus Finch is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Atticus Finch To Kill a Mockingbird Gregory Peck - Best Actor (1962).

7
665 854
Randle Patrick McMurphy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Randle Patrick McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1975).

8
353 374
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Jake LaMotta Raging Bull Robert De Niro - Best Actor (1980).

9
428 344
Anton Chigurh is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Anton Chigurh No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem - Best Supporting Actor (2007).

10
469 557
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Raymond Babbitt Rain Man Dustin Hoffman - Best Actor (1988).

11
392 271
Tommy DeVito is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tommy DeVito Goodfellas Joe Pesci - Best Supporting Actor (1990).

12
408 325
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2009).

The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever

13
284 217
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Mahatma Gandhi Dear Friend Hitler Ben Kingsley-Best Actor (1982)

14
287 176
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Terence Fletcher Whiplash J. K. Simmons - Best Supporting Actor (2014).

15
290 243
King George VI is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
King George VI The King's Speech Colin Firth - Best Actor (2010).

16
275 241
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne - Best Actor (2014).

17
265 153
General George S. Patton, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
General George S. Patton, Jr. Patton George C. Scott - Best Actor (1970).

The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

18
355 242
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Sean Maguire Good Will Hunting Robin Williams - Best Supporting Actor (1997).

19
283 270
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2012).

20
310 243
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Roger 'Verbal' Kint The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey - Best Supporting Actor (1995).

21
270 245
Daniel Plainview is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Daniel Plainview There Will Be Blood Daniel Day-Lewis - Best Actor (2007).

22
359 354
Maximus Decimus Meridius is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator Russell Crowe - Best Actor (2000).

Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked

23
227 175
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Truman Capote Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman - Best Actor (2005).

24
211 166
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle The French Connection Gene Hackman - Best Actor (1971).

25
220 225
Dr. Schultz is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dr. Schultz Django Unchained Christoph Waltz - Best Supporting Actor (2012).

26
235 272
Lester Burnham is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Lester Burnham American Beauty Kevin Spacey - Best Actor (1999).

27
207 157
Idi Amin Dada is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Idi Amin Dada The Last King of Scotland Forest Whitaker - Best Actor (2006).

95+ Amazing Behind the Scenes Photos from Iconic Movies

28
196 252
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Alonzo Harris Training Day Denzel Washington - Best Actor (2001).

29
253 211
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ray Charles Ray Jamie Foxx - Best Actor (2004).

30
114 115
Christy Brown is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Christy Brown My Left Foot

31
202 213
Melvin Udall is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Melvin Udall As Good as It Gets Jack Nicholson - Best Actor (1997).

32
171 177
Wladyslaw Szpilman is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Wladyslaw Szpilman The Pianist Adrien Brody - Best Actor (2002).

The Very Best Actress Performances, Ranked

33
209 154
Samuel Gerard is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard The Fugitive Tommy Lee Jones - Best Supporting Actor (1993).

34
200 127
Nick Chevotarevich is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Nick Chevotarevich The Deer Hunter Christopher Walken - Best Supporting Actor (1978).

35
109 105
Howard Beale is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Howard Beale Network Peter Finch- Best Actor (1976)

36
216 149
Dickie Eklund is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Dickie Eklund The Fighter Christian Bale - Best Supporting Actor (2010).

37
185 196
Hugh Glass is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Tom Islava added Hugh Glass The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio - Best Actor (2015).

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38
135 131
Béla Lugosi is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Béla Lugosi Ed Wood Martin Landau - Best Supporting Actor (1994).

39
131 89
T. E. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
CarstenSchultz added T. E. Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia

40
147 87
Aaron Stampler is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Morgan Snyder added Aaron Stampler Primal Fear

Edward Norton

41
132 113
Homer Smith is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Homer Smith Lilies of the Field Sidney Poitier - Best Actor (1963).

42
166 123
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Antonio Salieri Amadeus F. Murray Abraham - Best Actor (1984).

The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies

43
156 181
Rooster Cogburn is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
DonPhillips added Rooster Cogburn True Grit, Rooster Cogburn John Wayne - Best Actor (1969).

44
74 52
Frank Serpico is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Frank Serpico Serpico

45
106 126
David Helfgott is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
David Helfgott Shine Geoffrey Rush - Best Actor (1996).

46
78 53
Norman Stansfield is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Norman Stansfield Léon: The Professional

47
120 216
Jimmy Markum is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Jimmy Markum Mystic River Sean Penn - Best Actor (2003).

48
100 76
Captain Jack Sparrow is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
heesung237 added Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

49
140 158
Ron Woodroof is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Ron Woodroof Dallas Buyers Club Matthew McConaughey - Best Actor (2013).

50
121 225
Harvey Milk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked
Harvey Milk Milk Sean Penn - Best Actor (2008).